Thursday, July 14, 2016

A New Winner (Drumroll)

Sadly we never heard back from one of our winners and since it's been over a week, and many emails sent we're choosing a new name.......
  Our new winner of a lovely Spice Dabba from the good people at GItaDiniUSA

and a Spice Kit from The Chaunk


So, c'mon down..we've sent you an email notifiying you!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tired Of The Same Old Spuds? Creamy, Spicy, Potatoes Indian Style.

   Summer is here in Sonoma in full force. We had a series of super hot days  (fortunately, with cool nights) good for the grapes. It's also been good for everything else we're growing around here. This has been a busy year so far. Working on a new film script, introducing the first phase of  The Chaunk line of Indian spices and grilling rubs, and helping work on the menu for the new CocoaPlanet Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room  that' s going to be opening here in Sonoma very soon.

PS: The  menu is entirely gluten free, as the entire facility will be totally gluten free! See this Cherry Almond Tart? Totally gluten free and less than  1/4 cup of organic sugar in the whole shebang!

And these brownies made from CocoaPlanet chocolate....

And these vegan deep dark truffle  pots de creme topped with gluten-free edible dirt and edible flowers?

Yeah, that's what we're talking about!

   Anyway, man does not live by dessert alone (or so I've been told) and every now and then you've gotta throw some vegetables into the mix, which brings me to the latest product from our garden: organic Yukon Gold potatoes. Potatoes are one of the easiest things to grow...since all one needs are seed potatoes. You know, those potatoes that are kind of old and have eyes popping out all over??? Plant them. Cut them up first into halves or quarters, just so long as each one has an eye or two to start sprouting and BIngo!  In aboout 60 days or so, you've got potatoes.

Fortunately, we had a long rainy winter up here in Wine Country this year and so I had to wait for the rains to taper down before planting my potatoes...but once we had a dry spell into the ground they went.  I harvest the first bunch last week.

I combined them with some of our Anaheim chilies and of course a few tomatoes.

The recipe I'm sharing here doesn't require the tomatoes, so I enjoyed those on their own with  a bit of olive oil. The potatoes and the Anaheims became part of a classic Indian dish  Aloo ki sabzi, or...

Potatoes With Anaheim Chilies

Here's What You Need:
3 yukon gold potatoes
3 Anaheim chilies
1 Tbs vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbs crushed peanuts
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1 onion finely chopped
salt to taste

Here's What To Do:
Halve and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 15 minutes or so.
Rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and set them aside.
Meanwhile, slice the Anaheim chilies into rings.

Peel the cooled potatoes. The skin should slip off easily.

Cut the potatoes into cubes.

Chop the onion finely and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or kadhai.

When the oil is hot add in the cumin seeds.

When the seeds start to sizzle, add in the chopped onion.

Cook the onion until it becomes soft and translucent then add in  the turmeric, chopped peanuts...

...and sesame seeds.

Stir everything around a bit and then add in the Anaheim chilies...

 ...cumin and coriander.

Saute everything together, until the peppers are softened but still a bit al dente.
Add in the Kashmiri chili...

...and the yogurt mixed with sugar.

Stir everything around on a low heat. You don't want the yogurt to curdle.

Add in the potatoes, and salt to taste.

Stir everything around to blend it well.

When everything is cooked and the potatoes have warmed through and are well covered with the yogurt, take it off the stove and enjoy!

   Creamy, spicy and a tiny bit sweet, this is a great vegetarian accompaniment to any meal. I think it would also work chilled for a cookout.. however, it didn't last long enough for me to try it out that way. The great thing about this dish is it makes up pretty dang fast. Boil your potatoes ahead of time to really get a jump on things. This potato dish is definitely in my meal rotation.

   Coming up next, more Indian dishes, fast and easy because who wants to spend the summer in the kitchen! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We Have Our Two Winners For The Chaunk and GitaDini USA Spice Kits and Dabbas!

   Thanks to everyone who signed up for The Chaunk's  free newsletter and participated in our very first giveway. The great people at GitaDiniUSA have donated two Spice boxes, aka Dabbas, and we are sending along a Chaunk 8 Pack Indian Spice Kit to two lucky winners.

   Our two winners drawn this morning via  numbers generator:

Fieena Zvenyach



   I'm going to be sending each of them an email notifying them of their win. Thanks to everyone who signed up and we'll be doing more giveaways, and special offers for our subscribers, so join The Chaunk newsletter and share the spice!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Chaunk, The Dabba, and You: Our First Giveaway!

When Alan and I launched The Chaunk last November we set out to share my love of cooking Indian food with others and to show people how easy it can be if you have the right ingredients. I'd been cooking Indian food for about 26 years and I named my blog The Colors of Indian Cooking because to me, the Indian Spice Box or Dabba resembled a culinary box of crayons. So like any good box of crayons we started with the Basic 8.

About a month ago we added a selection of Rubs and Flavors for grilling and spicing up both meat and vegetables

The Chaunk is now adding a Free Newsletter. Subscribe to our mailing list and you'll get access to exclusive recipes, special offers, discounts, the latest news  from The Chaunk, and  a chance to win a beautiful GitaDini Spice Dabba. And if you have a Spice Dabba, you'd better have some Indian Cooking Spices to go into it, so we're including a Chaunk 8 Pack to get you started!

I have had my Gita Dini Dabba for 3 years now and it sits right beside my stove ready for action. It's an easy and efficient way to keep what you need near you in one dedicated spot... it's damn good looking!!!!!

GitaDini makes a whole array of kitchen items for Indian cooking, from Chapatti tools, to Idili molds and beyond. Check out there amazing selection of goods right here. 

So sign up! For the newsletter, and a chance to win the GitaDini Spice Dabba and The Chaunk 8 Pack!

Our contest will be running until July 5th, so sign up and get a chance to be one of our winners and a big thanks to the folks at GitaDini for helping to make all this possible. Coming up next, easy cooling Indian dishes for your Fouth of July BBQ. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Fast Cooling Soup Made For Tomato Season.

   Summer has hit Sonoma and we are already knee deep in delicious sweet tomatoes. I don't think I actually ever really tasted a proper fresh tomato until we started spending time in Sonoma. Before that the only tomatoes I'd had tasted like hard pink billiard balls and I would do almost anything to avoid using fresh ones as most of them just plain sucked. Then I tasted fresh summer tomatoes and I never looked back. We grew a lot of them last year. I used them in my Indian cooking and so they became a must when we planted this years garden.

   Normally those tomatoes would go into a raita or some other Indian dish. I certainly never made a soup from them, or a pasta sauce. But then  I started working for CocoaPlanet. The CocoaPlanet folks are opening their tasting room and bistro very soon here in Sonoma and I've been helping develop their menu. The owners are gluten free and so is their chocolate. Their Bistro and Tasting Room is going to be a totally completely gluten free establishment. You heard me... no gluten on the premesis.

   I've spent many years cooking gluten free for friends, (I myself am not gluten intolerant) and since Indian food is pretty easy to prepare gluten free, it's never been a problem for people visiting our house. I blend my own flours and we've been having a ball dessert-tasting tarts, cookies, cakes etc. A lot of the desserts are also vegan so this place is going to have something for everyone.

   Yes, these guys are both gluten free and vegan.....anyway, that brings me to this soup.  Man does not live by macarons alone. And Anne McKibben, founder of CocoaPlanet wanted a lovely fresh tomato soup, similar to ones made by her French mother. Totally pure, tasting of straight up garden fresh tomatoes, this was the unicorn of tomato soups. So after doing my research, I adapted this French recipe... no cooking involved, it's easily made in a blender no muss no fuss. All it requires is the best freshest tomatoes one can find, and this time of year that's pretty easy.

Fresh Tomato Soup With Tarragon Creme Fraiche

Here's What You Need:
4 lbs fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups of vegetable broth
1Tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsps sugar

For the Creme Fraiche:
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 and 1/2 Tbs chopped tarragon, and some extra for a garnish

Here's What To Do:
Cut the tomatoes in half on the equator side.
Using a teaspoon scoop out the seeds then cut the tomatoes in quarters.
Place the tomatoes in a blender
Add in everything else except the creme fraiche.
Hit Blend!!!
Pour the soup through a mesh basket to filter out any tomato skin or seeds that might be left.
Chill the soup for at least 2 hours and serve it up.

Before serving, whip 1 and 1/2 Tbs of chopped  fresh tarragon into the creme fraiche.
Place a dollop of the tarragon mixture in the center of the soup and you are ready to go!
If you want this to be totally vegan, either omit the creme fraiche or use a vegan creme fraiche.

If you want to make your own non vegan creme friache, mix together a cup of whipping cream with 2 Tbs buttermilk cover the cup with cheese cloth and set it out for 8 to 24 hours to thicken. Voila! Creme Fraiche! Store in a closed jar in the fridge.

   Coming up next, a contest. We're going to be giving away some Spice Kits from our company The Chaunk ...

...and  Spice Dabbas from the folks at GitaDini to store your spices in.

   So, watch this space! Meanwhile follow along on Twitter at @kathygori

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fish Story! A Quick and Easy Recipe For An Unexpected Lunch.

   As a kid, my family and I spent many summers north of San Francisco at Lake Tahoe. Tahoe, if you've never seen it is a large freshwater lake that straddles the border of California and Nevada.

At the North Shore where we used to go, the water is deep blue and icy cold. Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America, and the second deepest lake behind Crater Lake. When I was younger, the stories told about Tahoe were many including the fact that in certain parts it was mysteriously "bottomless."  This was enough to creep out the kids around the campfire, as who knew what might be living down there. Sea monsters, demons, the Loch Tahoe Monster? As it turns out something pretty damn big, which happens to also be pretty damn tasty....Mackinaw.

Lake Tahoe Mackinaw caught by Gene St. Dennis
   We were coming back from our morning walk with Patsy the other day when Leo, our neighbor from across the road popped out and asked us if we ate fish. Yes, I said. He then proceeded to give us an enormous slab of fresh caught Tahoe Mackinaw. He told me it looked and tasted just like Salmon. So, never one to look a gift fish in the mouth, I took it home and tried to figure out what to do with it.
   The first thing I did was look up Mackinaw in Google and read that it indeed tasted and looked like salmon. So I decided to see how people went about cooking this particular sort of fish. Mackinaw can be pretty fatty and in some cases can stink up the house (or so I read) so I decided we needed to cook this sucker outside. While Alan prepped the grill, I looked around to see what I had to work with in the pantry. Corn, maple syrup, prosciutto and spinach were all fresh. I'd been planning a different sort of lunch, not involving any of these foods but hey, when nature gives you mackinaw....

Lake Trout Cooked In Corn Husks

Here's What You Need:
1 lb of Lake Trout
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 ears of corn
4 thin slices of prosciutto
salt to taste

Here's What To Do:
Preheat the grill to about 400 degrees.
Pat the fish dry, and remove any fatty parts.
Husk the corn and place the corn husks on a cookie sheet.
Place the fish skin side down on top of the corn husks and brush with a bit of the maple syrup.

Place the thin strips of prosciutto on top of the fish.

Place the cookie sheet of fish on the grill.

Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes or until it flakes easily.
I also roasted the corn beside the fish.
Meanwhile I dusted 1/2 a lime with kashmiri chili.

When the fish is done. Remove it from the corn husks and serve it up. Rub the lime on top of the roasted corn... you don't need any butter. I served this with small gluten-free spinach tarts.

   Leo was right, the mackinaw tasted just like salmon and I didn't risk having a stinky fish house since all the cooking was done outdoors. I imagine the same technique can be used on regular salmon.  It was a fast, unexpected lunch from surprise fish and fridge and pantry items. Seems like my old Girl Scout motto, always be prepared does come in handy once in a while. Coming up next, more Indian food, a great prize giveaway from The Chaunk and GitaDini follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Here Comes Summer! Meat or Veg? Get Your Spice On With New Rubs and Flavors From The Chaunk.

   A few months ago we introduced our Indian Cooking Spice Kit The Chaunk. The Chaunk enables anyone to cook tasty Indian food easily using authentic spices and recipes. Now that the warm weather is here, we wanted to share with you an even easier way to add a hit of Indian spice to the Summer Kitchen, The Chaunk Rubs and Flavors. I've been using these blends in my own cooking for years, rubbing them on meats and fish, sprinkling them into vegetables and beans.

The Kashmiri BBQ Rub is great on ribs.  Rub it in and start grilling. Add 2 Tbs of it to apple cider vinegar and water and heat it up for a delicious mop sauce. It's equally good on chicken.

I also cooked some rainbow carrots then finished them off in a pan with a bit of butter and Kashmiri BBQ rub. It's  terrific rubbed on grilled corn with a squeeze of lime.

The Bengali 5 Spice Mix makes any vegetables shine. Add it to pan roast potatoes, or eggplant.

The Triple C Grill Rub an be added to dals, chicken, and beans. Whatever needs a hint of mild flavor.

We are also excited to be introducing The Chaunk Newsletter. Join us and you will receive great seasonal recipes not appearing on the blog, advance notice of new products, and special sales and  giveaways being offered exclusively to Newsletter subscribers. And it's free! So if you'd like to be included, you can sign up here:

Coming up next, fast and easy Indian recipes to spice up your Summer entertaining. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


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